Moments after the Bills’ final practice at training camp, head coach Chan Gailey walked over towards the stands and chewed out a group of teenage fans that were heckling some of the players, most notably quarterback Trent Edwards.
After telling the fans the players wouldn’t be signing their autographs, he offered this parting shot:
“You dog one of us, you dog all of us!”
Gailey also told the fans, who stood in stunned silence, the players would not be coming to sign autographs for them.
”They said some things during practice that were derogatory to a couple of our players,” Gailey explained to the media a few minutes later. “And if you say something derogatory to one of us you say it to all of us, so I told [the players] not to sign for that group.”
Perhaps Gailey would have been wise to rise above the taunts, but he defended his position.
“In my opinion, if you do something you tell people why,” he said. “When we make a decision with our football team, I tell them why. I told [the players] why we weren’t going to [sign autographs] and I told [the group of fans] why we weren’t coming over there.” -Allen Wilson of the Buffalo News-
Mind of Joe
Well, Chan Gailey decided to do his version of the Soup Nazi by saying “No autographs for you!?!” When I first heard the news, I was a little disappointed in Gailey for telling a bunch of kids to pipe down. It just reeked of being thin-skinned. Then, after I thought about it, I just couldn’t help but think, “Seriously, you’re going to practice to boo these guys?” That was just a little bit too much for me. I mean, we are talking about practice here ( Allen Iverson’s voice).
BTW, I don’t think it was a isolated situation either. If you don’t follow Kawika Mitchell on Twitter, he actually tweeted about not liking it when fans boo the Bills during training camp sessions. So, this was probably building up for weeks with this squad. So, if I’m forced to pick a side in all this, I’ll go with Gailey. Fans shouldn’t be booing players during practice.
Hell, these guys are going to end up giving autographs to you; so, you should be a little nicer to them. Now, when the regular season starts and the team is playing like complete garbage and you paid your money for a ticket, then all bets are off. I just hope that this episode wasn’t about Gailey being thin-skinned and more about showing team unity. Gailey better understand that when November hits and the Bills might be struggling, the catcalls from Ralph Wilson Stadium are going to be much worse than some teenagers heckling Trent Edwards’ hair.
Now, here is where you and I will probably not see eye to eye. All this talk about loving this move because Gailey is preaching team unity or whatever, is kind of a little overkill. Sure, it’s cool and all, but some fans and media memembers were acting like they were listening to Knute Rockne telling his players “to win one for the Gipper.” I know it’s preseason and a lot of Bills fans are looking for any silver lining to be optimistic about this season. Yes, Gailey’s training camps are harder than his predecessors, which has been the battle cry. However, to say that this is going to bring the team together?
Don’t we remember the last three years? Didn’t all the players love Dick Jauron? Didn’t the players talk about the team being a big old happy family? Didn’t all the players want to fight for Dick Jauron’s job? Didn’t Dick Jauron defend his players? And what did team unity get us?
Yes, call me “Mr. Negative” all you want, but I’m waiting for the season to start to pass judgement. Hell, I’m waiting till year two of Chan Gailey’s regime to see if progress is being made. Sorry, but for me, it’s a rebuilding job and we haven’t even seen a regular season game yet to really call what we have here. Trust me, I’m not trying to crap on Gailey, but I just want to reserve judgement till later.
Now, if these are the sort of qualifications that get Bills fans excited about the team, then I think I’d be a good coach during the preseason! Hell, I’m fiery! I can tell a bunch of punks to get lost and not to mess with my guys. I can make my players practice until they drop. Again, talk to me down the road. I think it’s fair for me to grade Gailey when the season actually starts.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I don’t buy or sell training camp hype. I could go over a 100 stories in the last 10 years that have made fans glow with optimism over things they saw in August. From Gregg Williams being a X’s and O’s coach to Rob Johnson looking good in the west coast offense, it’s all a bunch of PR fluff.
Bottom line: The Bills can sign camp fires all they want, but they still need the talent.
I’m back at BSN doing my weekly spot on “BSN After Hours.” It’s broken up into two parts…Here’s what we tackled:
1) Do you miss T.O.?
2) Buffalo Bills memories
3) Even “Coach” Sal Capaccio comes through with some of his favorite memories
4) My rant on games in Toronto